Emirates, Etihad Embrace
Rival UAE-based airlines Emirates and Etihad signed an MoU to expand their interline agreement under the guise of promoting tourism and allowing visitors to the UAE to visit multiple destinations on one trip on the same itinerary.
When the agreement takes effect this summer, passengers will be able to create a UAE-based open-jaw itinerary, flying into Abu Dhabi on Etihad and out of Dubai on Emirates — or there other way around. The agreement is part of an effort for the country to expand tourism to beyond $30 billion per year by 2027.
The agreement will first focus on tourists from Europe and China — otherwise known as the chainsmokers belt — and potentially save some passengers the hour drive if just can’t pull themselves from their room at the Burj Khalifa early enough to get all the way to Abu Dhabi.
The deal builds on the 2018 deal between the two carriers which included a basic interline agreement and the sharing of information and intelligence when it comes to security. The deal is available to any carrier based in the UAE whose name begins with E. flyDubai’s attempt to change its name to eFlyDubai hasn’t been confirmed by press time.
Delta Wants More Freedom at Haneda
Delta Air Lines is asking the DOT to loosen its slot restrictions at Tokyo/Haneda to give the airline more flexibility to use its slots more to its advantage – but against the terms set in 2019 when the slots were awarded – as part of a three-year pilot program.
Delta received almost all the slot pairs it requested in 2019 when the DOT and Japan increased the number offered to U.S. carriers from five per day to 12. One of the caveats of the 2019 agreement was that the winning airline fly the specific city pairs granted to it – for Delta that meant: Atlanta, Detroit, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Portland, and Seattle – and that once service began, if any city pair went unused for 90 days, the DOT had the right to repossess the slot.
The carrier revealed that its demand to HND is quite weak, stretching from the bad (ATL at 64%) to the horrible (HNL at 18%). The specific request is that it be allowed to use two of its slots to whatever city it wants to – opening the possibility of that HND-FWA flight for which many have been clamoring. American supports Delta’s request because it reportedly is hoping to move its HND-LAX flight to a new destination.
The DOT has not announced a timeline for a decision on Delta’s request.
Federal Government Drops Vaccine Requirement
More than three years after the pandemic practically shut down international travel, the Biden administration will drop its vaccine requirement for foreign visitors, the last remaining travel policy from the pandemic era.
The regulation is scheduled to end on May 11 and the government will not extend it beyond that date. May 11 is the same day vaccine rules for federal government employees and federal contractors go away since that’s the day the United States’s public health emergency declaration will come to an end. The ending of the vaccine requirement comes just less than a year after the ending of a mandatory negative COVID-19 test for foreign visitors.
The news comes as a victory for the Statue of Liberty and Novak Djokovic. The former has been missing having the poor, huddled, unvaccinated masses from other countries pay $50 for a boat tour around the southern tip of Manhattan, while the latter has missed the last two U.S. Open Tennis Tournaments due to the policy.
FAA Creates New Lanes in the Sky
The FAA is adding almost 170 new flight routes above the East Coast to try and reduce some congestion in the nation’s busiest air corridors.
The new lanes are at altitudes of 18,000 feet and higher and generally apply to airplanes while at cruise. These new routes will rely on precise GPS technology as opposed to the previous method of sending pilots into the air with nothing but a world atlas and a compass. The routes take advantage of lesser used space over water including the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the NYC sewer system.
The FAA expects the routes will reduce about 100 hours — or 6,000 minutes — of travel time per year, or roughly how much one plane spends circling waiting for clearance to land at one of the main three NYC airports on an average day.
The new routes are a culmination of more than seven years of work from the FAA, much of which consisted looking at maps and trying to determine how high up there the sky really goes. If this new trial goes well, the government is expected to seek other additions to improve traffic flow in the country’s airspace including installing brake lights on the back of airplanes and installing those useless traffic lights that exist on highway on ramps to manage the number of takeoffs at any one time.
Skywest FAs to be Paid During Boarding
Skywest flight attendants flying for the airline on behalf of Alaska, American, Delta, and United will be eligible to be paid during boarding as part of a new contract between the FAs and the the airline.
Skywest becomes the second U.S. airline to offer pay during boarding after Delta flight attendants won the right to receive half of their hourly rate during the boarding process. Skywest staff will receive 25% pay when the policy is first implemented. It’s not all sunshine and roses for the FAs as the extra pay will come in lieu of the carrier’s offer of a quarterly profit-sharing bonus to its cabin staff.
Both Alaska and American FAs have fought for boarding pay but have not been successful up to this point. Spirit’s attempt to charge a fee to its own flight attendants during boarding is expected to be implemented during Q3 this year while Southwest said its FAs were too busy policing seat savers to even worry about getting paid.
- Aeromexico operated the first flight from Mexico City’s new airport (Mexico City/Felipe Angeles) to the United States this week, when AM2780 left NLU on Monday and arrived at Houston/IAH.
- Air Canada is partnering with Bell to offer free inflight messaging for Aeroplan members provided the messages are polite and pay homage to the true north strong and free.
- Air Europa is very delicate, giving it something in common with top-tier elite fliers on most airlines.
- Air Moldova is going to have to find a new cash source because the Moldovan government is no longer going to cover its debts.
- American being the only major U.S. airline to earn a Q1 profit makes much more sense now that we know the airline is transporting cocaine.
- Breeze is finally beginning the one flight everyone in southern California was hoping for, from Los Angeles to Los Cabos. The criminally-underserved route only has six other airlines flying it, so Breeze is wisely stepping up and filling a need that thousands are demanding.
- Canadian North came to an agreement with the Canadian government to complete its merger with First Air. Terms include Canadian North maintaining current levels of service to small Canadian communities, limiting fare and cargo increases, agreeing to quarterly audits, and serving complimentary poutine on all flights 60 minutes or longer.
- China Southern is resuming its interline agreement with Kenya Airways.
- Eastar Jet founder Lee Sang-jik saw his appeal denied by the Korean Supreme Court on his six-year prison sentence for embezzling cash from the airline thanks to a friend-of-the-court filing from arch-rival WestJet requsting maximum punishment. He’s expected to be released just in-time to hear the result of the Northeast Alliance lawsuit from the DOJ.
- Emirates CEO Tim Clark says the airline could form more alliances in the future. It also might not.
- Etihad plans to double its fleet to 150 aircraft by the end of the decade. Check back with us in 2029 for an update on this story.
- Flair is opening a new base in Calgary with three airplanes and a large vat of maple syrup.
- flyDubai is introducing a lie-flat suite product on its B737 MAX fleet.
- Frontier cut the price of its GoWild! summer pass from $999 to $499 so that you can pay less to not find any available seats.
- Hawaiian parked five A321neos after discovering they operate far less efficiently without engines.
- Go First in India is being renamed to Came and Went after the airline filed for bankruptcy and suspended all flights.
- JAL plans to add three B767-300 ER freighters beginning late this year, marking the first time since 2010 that the carrier will operate its own cargo aircraft.
- Jazeera Airways turned a $7.5 million profit during Q1.
- Norse Atlantic began operating exclusively from JFK’s Terminal 7 this week, which it will continue to do until it doesn’t. It’s also adding service this fall from LGW to Barbados (daily, beginning Oct. 29), Montego Bay (4x weekly, Oct. 29), and Kingston (3x weekly and Oct. 31). By starting the flights so close to Halloween the carrier is hoping British Airways is so occupied with its costume that it doesn’t notice the new competition.
- Qantas named Vanessa Hudson to be its new CEO, effective November 1.
- Qatar CEO Akbar Al Baker says the airline will play nicely with new Saudi carrier Riyadh Air. Okay.
- Ryanair signed a SAF deal MoU with global energy group Repsol.
- SAS will begin 3x weekly flights from Copenhagen to Bangkok on October 30.
- Solomon Airlines signed a wet-lease agreement with Air Vanuatu in which it will operate a third weekly frequency between Port Vila and Auckland for the airline. What a time to be alive.
- Vietnam Airlines posted a profit of about $822,000 in Q1, its first profitable quarter since the pandemic began.
- WestJet‘s acquisition of Sunwing was completed this week.
At the turn of the last century, Mexico was introduced to mayonnaise. And they just loved it. They couldn’t make mayonnaise quick enough. A little known fact about the Titanic is that it had a large vat of mayonnaise that was going to go to Mexico.
Now when the Titanic sunk, and the mayonnaise went with it, the Mexicans were devastated. In fact, so devastated that they did the only logical thing they could do: make a holiday to commemorate that tragic event.
Know what they called that holiday?
Cinco de Mayo.